Seeking an even less user-friendly alternative to vinyl, singer Beck has announced that his upcoming album will be released solely as individual pieces of sheet music, placing the onus of "playing music that can be heard" on consumers themselves.
According to the musician's website, Beck Handsen's Song Reader will consist of twenty songs' worth of sheet music, assembled into twenty individual song booklets, each decorated with "full-color, heyday-of- home-play-inspired art," and stored in a "lavishly produced hardcover carrying case."
The full package is reportedly "as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together," or, in layman's terms, as visually absorbing as a dozen foldout pictures.
But what of the music itself? Beck's website assures readers that the songs are really quite good, particularly for musicians who have been trained to play them, like Beck.
The songs here are as unfailingly exciting as you'd expect from their author, but if you want to hear "Do We? We Do," or "Don't Act Like Your Heart Isn't Hard," bringing them to life depends on you.
While Beck's album won't be released by McSweeney's publishing house until December, my next album is available for purchase immediately. Self-contained within the following empty brackets [ ], it is an innovative audiovisual masterpiece that encourages experiencers to test the bounds of their own creativity by imagining what perfect music might sound like and then drawing a corresponding full-color Currier and Ives-inspired visual representation with the Pen of the Mind. It costs forty-nine dollars, payable only in cash or tradable goods.
For those who, Jesus Christ, would just like to hear the freaking songs without all this hassle, Beck's site reports that "readers' (and select musicians')"—though, as Rolling Stone notes, not necessarily Beck's—interpretations of the songs will be featured on the McSweeney's website after the songbook is released. This will be the only place on the web it is possible to hear amateur covers of Beck songs.